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Archive for July, 2009

By Ronald H. Coelyn, Founding Managing Partner – The Coelyn Group

I recently read an article in a major newspaper purporting to give advice about recruiting executive talent in today’s extremely challenging economic climate.  Frankly, the advice given by these so-called experts in both print and broadcast media is unsubstantiated nonsense and very misleading – giving the distinct impression that their stories represent the “real” world.  It doesn’t work that way!

Myth 1 – Hiring only the “employed” in the current economy: The theory behind this statement is that unemployed executives are not as qualified as those who are employed.  This tried and “true” belief is untrue – most especially today.  In more than 23-years of executive search consulting I’ve never seen so many exemplary candidates become available through no fault of their own.  My firm would and has presented “A” player candidates who were currently between assignments.

Myth 2 – Age matters; don’t hire candidates in the third third of their career: This statement basically says that executives have about a 45-year career timeframe (from age 21 to age 65) prior to retirement.  But in reality, health, energy, passion and desire are the key components in evaluating a candidate of any age. More to the point, recent studies have shown that the average stay for a senior level executive is 2.3 years (reflecting the challenges of senior management, M&A activity, etc.). So hiring someone with perhaps 15 or more years left in their career, or even 3-4 years, should never be a problem.  And I would seriously consider candidates beyond age 65 assuming they have the aforementioned energy, etc.

Myth 3 – Wealthy executives don’t want to work anymore: they can’t be motivated: Clearly, this is an individual decision and many executives who have become independently wealthy elect to retire.  But I have personally come to know a great many such fortunate executives who have decided to continue their business careers. They just love the process, the thrill of competition and the realization that their contributions are truly important to society.

A perfect example is the venture capitalists.  As a group these creative leaders have often amassed considerable wealth and yet they “remain steadfastly in the game.”  And notwithstanding the current economic crisis which is impacting their sector we all know that they will come back strong, albeit perhaps with a different model for conducting business – but raise new funds and invest they will.  Of that, you can be certain.

Ronald H. Coelyn – Founding Managing Partner, The Coelyn Group
Ron is the Founding Partner of The Coelyn Group which specializes in Healthcare and Life Sciences. For the past 17 of his 30-year career, he has been active in these industries as a senior executive officer and, most recently, as an executive search consultant (both as a Founder of this Firm and as a Partner in the prestigious international executive search firm SpencerStuart). His executive search consulting practice spans engagements ranging from Chairman of The Board, Members of The Board of Directors, President & Chief Executive Officer to a variety of Vice Presidential and other senior level executive positions.

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Here is an excellent article I found at NY Times blog section.

“For a group accustomed to looking outward for the next big thing, Silicon Valley’s venture capitalists are getting very introspective these days, The New York Times’s Claire Cain Miller writes.

Much of the soul searching along Sand Hill Road in Menlo Park, where many of the venture capitalists have offices, is leading to the same conclusion: venture capital needs to go back to basics. The biggest names in the industry are concerned about low returns and are blaming several factors: funds that have grown too large, the M.B.A.’s that have invaded the industry and older partners who have lost touch with what is new in technology.

“I personally believe and I think the evidence proves that the venture industry has gotten too big, the funds have gotten too big,” said Alan Patricof, an investor for 40 years, who backed America Online and Apple, at a recent venture investing conference in San Francisco. “Our biggest challenge today for venture capital is to think smaller.”

Mr. Patricof is part of a growing chorus of voices calling for the amount of money in venture funds to shrink drastically to levels last seen two decades ago. His firm, Greycroft Partners, is taking a retro approach with a $75 million fund that makes smaller investments.

Many in the industry predict that a third to a half of the 882 active venture capital firms could disappear, if only because poor returns will force underperformers to shut down. It is already happening: Investment in venture capital funds shrank to $4.3 billion in the first quarter, from $7.1 billion in the same quarter a year ago.

There will be “a ton of venture capitalists who disappear over the next 18 to 20 months, and it’s going to be painful for a while,” Bryan Roberts, a partner at Venrock, told The Times. “But the best thing that could have happened to V.C. is this economic crisis, because it’s lowering the flow of capital into these funds.”

Read the full article here.

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Here is a good reflective article from CNN on the art of mergers – and it´s possible pitfalls.

“(Fortune Magazine) — David Crane, CEO of NRG Energy and a father of five, was standing in a stubby cornfield in Bucks County, Pa., one windy evening last October when his BlackBerry began to stir. He checked his in-box, but he didn’t respond, not right away. It was Sunday night, and he was on an outing with his family, waiting in line for a Halloween hayride. Nor did he respond an hour later on his way to the Amtrak station to catch a train to Washington, D.C. How could he, when he drives a Mini Cooper with a stick shift? You need both hands to manage a car like that. So it wasn’t until after nine at night, having found a quiet corner of the waiting room behind a Dunkin’ Donuts kiosk, that Crane finally got around to calling back John Rowe.

Rowe, CEO of Exelon Corp. (EXC, Fortune 500), picked up Crane’s call at his big-windowed aerie in Chicago’s Chase Tower, 54 stories above the Loop. Rowe told Crane that his board had met that afternoon, and he had some news: Exelon, the country’s biggest electric utility, was hereby offering to buy NRG (NRG, Fortune 500), the country’s fastest-growing independent electricity merchant — it sells wholesale power to utilities — for stock in a deal worth $6.2 billion. Term sheet to follow, press release within the hour. “Offer” was a euphemism; this was a hostile act.

Crane was stunned, less by Rowe’s uninvited bid (his lust for NRG was no secret) than by his choosing to publicize it instantly. Protocol dictates that a classic bear hug, as the M&A world defines the ritual, begin with a warm embrace, in private, with an eye toward achieving mutual consent. Rowe wasn’t even pretending to be nice. Crane could imagine why. NRG was secretly pursuing two deals of its own with Houston-based power companies: one code-named Doris, for Dynegy (DYN), the other Rodeo, for Reliant. Either would create regulatory obstacles that could block Exelon. Somehow Rowe had gotten wind of them. Neither was imminent, Crane says now (“He had a lot more time”), but Rowe didn’t know that.

Their conversation lasted only a few minutes. Crane asked Rowe if he had his debt financing in place. Both men understood that a change of control would trigger an immediate requirement to pay down $8.5 billion in NRG loans. “Not yet,” said Rowe, “but we’re working on it.” Crane wanted nothing to do with this deal: not with Rowe, whom he barely knew; not with Exelon, which he views as stodgy, bureaucratic, and otherwise “ill suited” to run an entrepreneurial enterprise like NRG without “suffocating” it; and definitely not at that price, which he would soon be describing to anyone who would listen as tantamount to “stealing the company.” Nevertheless, he tried to be civil as he concluded the call, promising Rowe, “We’ll give this serious consideration.”

So much for his scheduled trip to Washington. Crane called Jonathan Baliff, NRG’s M&A specialist, and reached him at home. “You’re not gonna believe this,” he said, still not quite believing it himself. “John Rowe just called to wish me a happy Halloween.”

Click here for the whole article.

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Here is an excellent Bloomberg article by way of statesman.com.

“SAN FRANCISCO — Acquisitions of startups fell to the lowest level in a decade in the second quarter as the recession stopped companies from buying smaller competitors.

A total of 59 startups merged with other companies, a drop of 30 percent from a year earlier and dropping to the lowest level since 1999, the National Venture Capital Association said. Five U.S. startups have had initial public offerings so far this year. In 2007, before the financial crisis, there were 86.

Acquisitions and IPOs — the two ways for venture capitalists to cash in their investments — have almost come to a standstill, NVCA President Mark Heesen said. With the IPO market struggling, larger technology companies — confident that prices will fall — are waiting before proposing takeovers, he said.

“The buyers on the merger and acquisition side got smart real fast,” Heesen said. “They wait for companies to come crying to them to get bought.”

No venture-backed companies went public between September and March — the longest slump since the association began collecting data in 1971. Only 11 startups have had IPOs since the end of 2007, and there is little immediate prospect for improvement, said Paul Bard, an analyst at Renaissance Capital.

Only 10 startups have filed pre-IPO paperwork with U.S. regulators, and none has done so since January, said Emily Mendell, an NVCA vice president. That signals that deals such as the May IPOs of Austin-based SolarWinds Inc. and online restaurant-reservation service OpenTable Inc. failed to spur other young companies to act.

It also means the market won’t revive in the next few months, Bard said.

“Unless filing activity spikes in the next two to three weeks, we’re unlikely to see a more sustainable pickup in VC-backed IPOs before Labor Day,” Bard said. “The bar will remain high for most VC-backed deals to get done.”

Even if the 10 biggest venture capitalists had 25 companies ready to go public by early next year, that would still leave IPOs at about a third of their levels from 2004 to 2007, he said.

That means startups lack bargaining power in merger talks, a situation that is keeping offers low and stalling many negotiations that do occur, Heesen said.

Only 13 of the 59 companies that sold out reported how much they were paid, the association said. Prices were higher than in the first quarter, a possible sign of improving conditions later this year, it said.

Cisco Systems Inc.’s $590 million deal to buy Pure Digital Technologies Inc., maker of the Flip Video camera, helped drive up the average merger price to $197.7 million.

Five companies commanded less than venture capitalists had invested, the venture capital association said. Purchases of medical-instrument makers CoreValve Inc. and Chestnut Medical Technologies Inc. were the only ones in which early backers received 10 times their outlay, the traditional standard for a venture-capitalist home run, Mendell said.”

Read the full article here.

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SALE OF ASSETS OF ACTIVE RESPONSE GROUP INC.
Gerbsman Partners (www.gerbsmanpartners.com) has been retained by Hercules Technology Growth Capital (“Hercules”), the senior secured lender to Active Response Group, Inc., (“ARG”), (www.activeresponsegroup.com) to solicit interest for the acquisition of all or substantially all of ARG’s assets, including its Intellectual Property (“IP”), in whole or in part (collectively, the “ARG Assets”).

Please be advised that the ARG Assets are being offered for sale pursuant to Section 9-610 of the Uniform Commercial Code. Purchasers of the ARG Assets will receive all of ARG’s right, title, and interest in the purchased portion of Hercules’ collateral, which consists of substantially all of ARG’s assets, as provided in the Uniform Commercial Code.

The sale is being conducted with the cooperation of Hercules and ARG. ARG has advised Hercules that it will use its best efforts to make its employees available to assist purchasers with due diligence and assist with a prompt and efficient transition at mutually convenient time.

IMPORTANT LEGAL NOTICE:

The information in this memorandum does not constitute the whole or any part of an offer or a contract.

The information contained in this memorandum relating to the ARG Assets has been supplied by third parties and obtained from a variety of sources. It has not been independently investigated or verified by Hercules or Gerbsman Partners or their respective agents.

Potential purchasers should not rely on any information contained in this memorandum or provided by Hercules or Gerbsman Partners (or their respective staff, agents, and attorneys) in connection herewith, whether transmitted orally or in writing (the “information”), as a statement, opinion, or representation of fact. Please further note that all information provided herein relating to the operations of ARG’s business and its market positions relates to periods on or prior to March 31, 2009. Interested parties should satisfy themselves through independent investigations as they or their legal and financial advisors see fit.

Hercules and Gerbsman Partners, and their respective staff, agents, and attorneys, (i) disclaim any and all implied warranties concerning the truth, accuracy, and completeness of any information provided in connection herewith and (ii) do not accept liability for the information, including that contained in this memorandum, whether that liability arises by reasons of Hercules’s or Gerbsman Partners’ negligence or otherwise.

Any sale of the ARG Assets will be made on an “as-is,” “where-is,” and “with all faults” basis, without any warranties, representations, or guarantees, either express or implied, of any kind, nature, or type whatsoever from, or on behalf of, Hercules and Gerbsman Partners. Without limiting the generality of the foregoing, Hercules and Gerbsman Partners, and their respective staff, agents, and attorneys, hereby expressly disclaim any and all implied warranties concerning the condition of the ARG Assets and any portions thereof, including, but not limited to, environmental conditions, compliance with any government regulations or requirements, the implied warranties of habitability, merchantability, or fitness for a particular purpose.

This memorandum contains confidential information and is not to be supplied to any person without Hercules or Gerbsman Partners’ prior consent.

SUMMARY OF HISTORICAL INFORMATION[1]

ARG is an online marketing solutions company specializing in lead generation and customer acquisition. ARG leverages deep vertical knowledge, a database of 20 million consumer records and a proprietary technology platform to deliver qualified leads and closed transactions to advertisers on a pay for performance basis. ARG employs a ‘wide-net’, promotional approach to generate consumer registrations from over 400 proprietary websites. These registrations are converted into qualified leads and sales. At its apex, the company generated over 1.5 million consumer registrations each month.

The company is well-positioned to capitalize on several industry trends – the migration of direct marketers from offline to online; the increased emphasis on accountability and ROI which has fueled the growth of the pay for performance space; and the increased focus on targeting and segmentation.

ARG is a privately held company. ARG (founded in 2000 as eWOMP, Inc.) is headquartered in New York, New York, with Technology offices in Boulder Colorado. To date, ARG has secured over $5 million in equity financing. $2.6 in a Series A secured by eWOMP with the remainder funded by the Company’s CEO, CFO, Board of Directors and a group of sophisticated private investors. The company also raised over $10MM in venture debt financing from Hercules Technology Growth Capital.

Target Market:
Per the IAB, lead generation is the fastest growing segment of the online advertising industry. Lead generation is estimated to grow to $3.7 billion by 2011, up from $1.8 billion in 2007.

Customers:
ARG’s clients range across a broad set of industries, covering over 80 distinct product and service categories. ARG operates a performance driven marketplace and its customer base is vertically agnostic, which allows it to maximize revenue across its strong client base of direct clients, agencies and networks, such as ValueClick, AOL, Q Interactive, IAC, Pfizer, Glaxo Smith Kline, R.J. Reynolds, and Netflix. The accounts receivable base of ARG is diverse, as no client represents over 10% of its accounts receivable balance.

Proprietary Lead Generation Technology – Intellectual Property
ARG’s internally developed software platform, Active Marketing Platform (“AMP”) is a scalable technology solution that enables the company to execute its business model with tremendous efficiency. ARG’s technology dynamically optimizes ROI by measuring the difference between attracting customers to ARG’s sites and the revenue generated from media sources – at a granular level – enabling real time media decisions. The company’s technology is customizable for individual clients to meet specific needs in order strike the optimal balance between quantity and quality. The company’s platform was designed with an open architecture to be both flexible and expandable. An example of the expandability of the platform is a recent development of a module that powers call centers. This enables ARG to utilize an outsourced call center, but maintain operational visibility and manage risk.

ARG technology platform is differentiated from its competitors such as Web Clients, World Avenue, Q Interactive in that AMP takes a consumer centric approach focused on maximizing the value of every customer interaction by serving the optimal ‘basket of offers’ to a distinct consumer based on user-generated, behavioral and attributed data. This data fuels a genetic algorithm that gets smarter over time to maximize the number of times a registrant opts in to an offer.

ARG is further differentiated by its ability to quickly deploy multiple lead generation websites with different and unique branding elements, extend into a call center environment and maximize media dollars spent/minimize risk based on performance at a granular level. ARG has developed several proprietary tools that enables dialing-up or dialing down media sources based on quality and ROI metrics. This ability to ‘feed the winners and starve the losers’ on the fly, yields higher revenue per registrant, produces higher quality for advertisers and results in lower fraud.

THE FOLLOWING FINANCIAL DATA IS PRESENTED FOR INFORMATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY. PAST PERFORMANCE MAY NOT BE INDICATIVE OF FUTURE RESULTS. THIS INFORMATION SHOULD NOT BE RELIED UPON TO MAKE FUTURE PERFORMANCE PROJECTIONS OF ANY KIND.

Summary

· Strong Historical Growth

· Attractive Industry – Fastest growing segment of the online advertising market, well-positioned to capitalize on major shifts in marketing strategies and media budgets

· Best in Class Technology – AMP platform provides a turn key lead generation and transactional marketing solution, which can also be extended to power call center operations

· Proprietary Data Base of over 20 million fully profiled consumers with over 2 billion data points

· Diversified Client Base with Low Concentration

· Excellent Relationships with Media Publishers and Advertisers – long-standing relationships with key players such as Value Click, Advertising.com, Q Interactive and other leading companies

· Opportunity for Future Growth and Margin Improvement – company has made moves to reduce fixed costs and improve marginal profitability making the company poised to scale.

The reasons why the ARG’s assets are attractive are:

ARG has historically experienced strong growth and has been among the leaders in the lead generation space. However, recent working capital constraints and an overly leveraged balance sheet have created the opportunity for all or a portion of ARG’s assets to be sold. The acquisition of these assets can enable the purchaser to realize significant short and long term value from the ARG assets as ARG maintains the ability to quickly scale within the context of sufficient working capital and a stronger balance sheet.

Robust Growth: Since inception, the Company has grown very impressively, with revenues increasing from $1 million to $32 million between 2004 and 2008.

Market Position: The Company is one of the five major players in the online lead generation space in terms of market size and presence. While ARG is the youngest of the five, it has the critical mass, superior technology and operational expertise to be highly successful in the marketplace, which is not true of its smaller competitors.

Proprietary Technology Platform That Can Be Bolted On or Run On a Standalone Basis: The Company’s proprietary technology platform (AMP) provides superior functionality relative to competitive solutions. The platform’s robustness handles extreme traffic loads, offer volatility, and “tech stress” created by many high-volume clients with many different consumer registration profiles simultaneously. Employing sophisticated advertising targeting and dynamic registration path optimization, the AMP possesses integrated additional functionality and analytical tools that support e-commerce, market research and affiliate marketing activities. Furthermore, the platform is capable of accommodating new non-Web communication devices (such as cell phone messaging) as consumer penetration and acceptance of added mobile functionality increases.

Extensive and Diversified Creative Library: To date ARG has developed thousands of websites and customer acquisition creative assets. AMP’s flexible architecture allows for rapid implementation or augmentation of brand and creative design allowing ARG’s creative inventory to be rapidly transplanted to complement existing or newly developed brands or lead generation properties and initiatives.

Diversified Client Base: The Company has over 400 clients engaged in a wide variety of consumer-oriented industries. This allows the Company to maximize the revenue and profitability of the leads it generates by delivering them to the most appropriate client based on expected yield as determined by AMP. In addition, by establishing a diverse customer base, the Company can avoid fluctuation in its revenues caused by adverse changes effecting any particular client industry category.

Agency Approvals: The Company is in compliance with the Interactive Advertising Bureau’s (IAB) newly established standards, which defines online lead generation best practices for US-based advertisers and publishers. The Company is a member of the IAB and sits on its lead generation committee, and it is also a member of the Online Lead Generation Association (OLGA) and the Direct Marketing Association (DMA).

Strong Regulatory Positioning: The Company invested hundreds of thousands of dollars in 2007 to completely overhaul its privacy policies and consumer disclosures to be ahead of the regulatory curve. Since the lead generation space continues to attract regulatory scrutiny, the Company is well-positioned to be operationally unaffected and to benefit, from a competitive standpoint, if any new regulations are initiated with respect to the lead generation business.

Hercules is seeking a buyer of the ARG’s Assets, in whole or in part. Interested parties may bid on all or any part of ARG’s core technology, creative library and customer contracts, enabling the purchaser to leverage ARG’s core technology, creative library, client and vendor relationships and to obtain new sales, enhance revenue streams or accentuate or augment lead generation and performance marketing business unit.

The Bidding Process for interested buyers:

Interested and qualified parties will be expected to sign a nondisclosure agreement (attached hereto as Exhibit A) to have access to key members of the management and intellectual capital teams and the due diligence “war room” documentation (the “Due Diligence Access”). Each interested party, as a consequence of the Due Diligence Access granted to it, shall be deemed to acknowledge and represent (i) that it is bound by the bidding procedures described herein; (ii) that it has an opportunity to inspect and examine the ARG Assets and to review all pertinent documents and information with respect thereto; (iii) that it is not relying upon any written or oral statements, representations, or warranties of Hercules, Gerbsman Partners, or ARG, or their respective staff, agents, or attorneys; and (iv) all such documents and reports have been provided solely for the convenience of the interested party, and Hercules, ARG, and Gerbsman Partners (and their respective, staff, agents, or attorneys) do not make any representations as to the accuracy or completeness of the same.

Following an initial round of due diligence, interested parties will be invited to participate with a sealed bid, for the acquisition of ARG’s Assets. Sealed bids must be submitted so that it is actually received by Gerbsman Partners no later than July 23, 2009 at 3:00 p.m. (Eastern Time) (the “Bid Deadline”) at ARG’s office, located at 104 W 27th St, 2nd Floor, New York, NY 10011. Please email all bids to steve@gerbsmanpartners.com and sharvey@herculestech.com

Bids should identify those assets being tendered for in a specific and identifiable way.

Any person or other entity making a bid must be prepared to provide independent confirmation that they possess the financial resources to complete the purchase where applicable. All bids must be accompanied by a refundable deposit check in the amount of $200,000 (payable to Hercules Technology Growth Capital, Inc.). The winning bidder will be notified within 48 hours of the Bid Deadline. Non-successful bidders will have their deposit returned to them. Hercules reserves the right to, in its sole discretion, accept or reject any bid, or withdraw any or all assets from sale.

Hercules will require the successful bidder to close within a 7-day period. Any or all of the assets of ARG will be sold on an “as is,” “where is” basis, with no representation or warranties whatsoever.

All sales, transfer, and recording taxes, stamp taxes, or similar taxes, if any, relating to the sale of the ARG Assets shall be the sole responsibility of the successful bidder and shall be paid to Hercules at the closing of each transaction.

For additional information, please see below and/or contact:

Steven R. Gerbsman
Gerbsman Partners
415 456 –0628
steve@gerbsmanpartners.com

[1] All information provided herein relating to the operations of ARG’s business and the market positions relates to periods on or prior to March 31, 2009. Interested parties should satisfy themselves through independent investigations as they or their legal and financial advisors see fit.

[2] The biographical information concerning the current management of ARG is included for information purposes only. Although this sale is being conducted with ARG’s cooperation, this sale is strictly an asset sale offered by Hercules as ARG’s senior lender pursuant to Article 9 of the Uniform Commercial Code. HERCULES HAS NO ARRANGEMENT PURSUANT TO WHICH BUYER OF THE ARG ASSETS COULD BE ASSURED OF THE FUTURE SERVICES OF ANY ARG OFFICERS OR EMPLOYEES.

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Here is a story I picked up at DowJones VentureSource;

“Dow Jones VentureSource is reporting today that Q2 of this year was “one of the worst” ever for venture capital backed firms, in terms of liquidity, since early 2003. According to Dow Jones, there was only $2.8 billion in exits for the quarter, including both mergers and acquisitions and IPOs, down 57% from last year’s numbers. Dow Jones said there was $2.57 billion in mergers and acquisitions of 67 companies in Q2, down from $6.48B and 89 transactions in Q2 of 2008. The three venture-backed IPOs on the market raised $232M. In terms of valuation, VentureSource reported the median amount paid for a venture-backed company in Q2 was almost $22M, down from $41M from the comparable period in 2008″


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Good news are starting to come across from market indicators. The economy is slowly starting to turn its heavy pessimism to a optimistic, normal belief of opportunity. Looking at these indicators on IPO filings, there are plenaty of opportunities on the horizon.

Here ar some good news posted by Wall Street Journal.

“The pace of new stock offerings perked up this spring after a cold winter, but the market for new issues still has a long way to go before a real recovery.

The story was the same in every corner of the world. At best, there was a pickup in issuance in the second quarter of 2009 from the first quarter, but there was nowhere near the levels of a year earlier.

World-wide, 78 companies raised $10.6 billion in initial public offerings of stock in the second quarter, up from 54 deals that raised just $1.3 billion in the first three months of 2009, according to data from Dealogic, which tracks new issues. But in the second quarter of 2008, 243 new public companies sold $33.4 billion of shares, by Dealogic’s count. All data exclude real-estate investment trusts and empty shell companies known as special-purpose acquisition companies, or SPACs.

If comparisons with last year aren’t sobering enough, consider this: In the second quarter of 2007, 469 companies raised a total of $88.2 billion — six times the number and more than eight times the dollar volume of the latest three months.

“In terms of volume of issuance, let’s face it, we’re still in the very early innings of recovery,” says Kevin Willsey, head of equity capital markets for the Americas at J.P. Morgan Chase & Co.

U.S. pricings in the latest quarter totaled 10, valued at $1.3 billion, compared with 11 deals that raised $4.2 billion in the 2008 period. Latin America and India each had one IPO for the second quarter, while Russia and Australia had none.

The largest offering in the world during the second quarter was the $4.27 billion raised on the Bovespa stock exchange by VisaNet, the Brazilian affiliate of credit-card network Visa Inc.

China had 13 IPOs in the second quarter that raised a combined $2.9 billion, compared with 20 that raised $2.3 billion a year ago; Europe had 10 deals totaling just $209 million, compared with 79 that raised $12.1 billion.

Still, bankers appear more optimistic now about the IPO market than at any time since last fall, with many saying there could be a stronger pickup in issuance in the second part of this year.

U.S. IPOs have performed well on their debuts this year. The May offering of OpenTable Inc. generated the best first-day performance since late 2007, before the stock-market meltdown. The company, which raised $60 million in its offering, rose 59% on its first day of trading.

The outlook for the IPO market depends on whether there are nasty surprises in second-quarter earnings reports, which will start arriving by the middle of this month, stable prices in the broader stock market and continued hopes for economic recovery.”

In this articl, Lynn cowan closes by saying:

“More deals later in the year would play into historical buying patterns by large institutions such as mutual funds and hedge funds, says Joe Castle, head of U.S. equities syndicate at Barclays Capital. “Fall is a popular time to buy IPOs,” he says, “because it positions portfolios with high-growth companies for the following calendar year and boosts performance for the current year if they trade well initially.”

Despite glimmers of hope in some areas of the world, like the U.S., bankers and investors alike are aware things could suddenly take a turn for the worse.

“We don’t see firms storming the gates to launch into the IPO market right now,” says David DiPietro, president of boutique investment bank Signal Hill in Baltimore. “We probably need to see another quarter of solid earnings from a broad base of companies.”

To read the full article, click here.

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